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Secrets to event success

Running an event without a hitch – whether you’re getting hitched or in command of a corporate soirée – requires a lot of co-ordination. Like any Hollywood blockbuster, the hardest work goes on behind the scenes. And an event planner can save your stress levels, tighten your budget – and more. Here’s our reasons to consider hiring some help for your wedding, event or conference.


Despite what you may think, an experienced planner can actually bring down your costs. Sticking to budgets is what planners specialise in, and they can also help you accurately forecast those costs to avoid any hidden surprises.

Event planners not only have a rich network of contacts who may offer them special rates or package deals, but they are adept at having any awkward price-related conversations which may arise, so you don’t have to…

…Which brings us to the next point. They do all the work, so you don’t have to. The stress and pressure of pulling off an event can reduce the shine for even the most enthusiastic host. So why not outsource that?

Seamless events are rich in details; the little touches which make a person’s day (or night) memorable. This could be physical details like name cards or dietary requirements, to ensuring seating arrangements don’t leave anyone without a familiar face nearby. Event planners live in the details, including the ones you didn’t even know existed!


Putting your best foot forward: Event Professionals

When it comes to your event, be it a product launch, conference, business incentive or an award event, you want it to be a symbolic representation of your business – professional, seamless and memorable. After all, we’ve long known it’s the first impressions which count.



With more than 30 years of event management experience of the highest calibre, Event Professionals was established by Suzanne Carson to help you put your best corporate foot forward.

Creative, customised and comprehensive, Suzanne can look after as little or as much as you require, including planning, design and style expertise.

“We’re here to help create the right environment for your clients or guests, no matter what that entails, from equipment required, to the ambience and ultimate look,” Suzanne explains.

“A great event needs to look good, feel good and meet all expectations.”

Suzanne has moved heavily into styling and has an enormous range of décor and linens available to create the look you want, working to strict timetables and your budget.

“We’re very fussy and never walk away without being completely happy with the finished product. We make sure it’s perfect all the way.”

Suzanne started her career in the travel industry before her role evolved into the conference industry. Awards dinners are a pet love, evidenced on her Instagram page. “I love the corporate market because of the professionalism and etiquette it represents,” she says.

“I threw myself in boots and all and I still love it as much as the day I started.”

For more information, phone Suzanne on 021 369 414 or email


So, why Rossendale? Rossendale Vineyard

Just a stone’s throw from the city, Rossendale Vineyard feels like a world of its own.


With large outdoor spaces and flexible indoor areas, this relaxed and private venue is adaptable for any function or event.

Offering delicious, nutritious, and interesting dining options, their chef can cater for all tastes and budgets.

Providing a highly personalised and professional service to make your event a reality, their experienced planners will help at every step to ensure your event runs perfectly.

All of this could be yours for your next conference, event or function within just a short 15-minute drive from the city centre.

Phone 03 322 7780 or email for an obligation-free quote


Setting the scene: Amuri Estate

If wowing the crowd is on the conference and events cards for you, then Amuri Estate in the Hanmer countryside can help you do it.

Photo by Karl Van Beek


Just 10 minutes out of the village and 90-minutes from Christchurch, Amuri Estate’s supreme views set the scene for perfection, while the luscious variety of spaces ensures events of all shapes, sizes and styles can be catered for.

The new modern barn style building has a large reception hall with capacity for 200 and a small meeting room with capacity for 20 to 60, including bathroom, kitchen and bar facilities, and breakout spaces.

On-site accommodation includes a lodge sleeping six within three king rooms with ensuites, and a kitchen-living area, while the Wallace Peak Cottage sleeps two in a king room and has a kitchen-living area and log fire.

Photo by Karl Van Beek

When it comes to catering, Amuri works with three catering companies, ensuring you can get the cuisine and drinks of your choice in buffet, plated and shared styles from the fully-equipped kitchen and bar.

Amuri Estate has a hire catalogue and equipment packages available including AV, styling, table settings and more – which make organising your event a breeze.

Photo by Bethany Howarth

A qualified event manager, Vanessa Orr is on hand to help co-ordinate as little or as much as required; organising meetings, the run sheet, and event plan, and liaising with the entertainment, photographer and caterer – if you so wish.

“I love seeing events come together; our stunning views ensure a picture-perfect backdrop to any event, from product launches to conferences,” she says. | Ph: 03 3155 351 |


Not just a pretty place: Larcomb Vineyard

We’re not going to pretend that when planning an event your venue options are limited…in fact it’s quite the opposite.


With so many choices out there, it can be hard to find the one that’s right for you and your guests. In order to help with the decision Metropol caught up with Tom Lawson from Larcomb Vineyard, about their place just ten minutes out of Christchurch.

The vineyard showcases some of the best views the region has to offer. Which are much nicer to look at than the four walls of a conference hall in a bustling city.

Tom puts it perfectly, that with their venue it’s “not just another day at office”. Well…unless you work at a vineyard. But it’s important to remember that it’s not just a pretty place, the space has so much more to offer.

Their hall is a space that can host a humble 50 to a huge 250. Not to mention it’s very flexible, you can have a whole space or – with a few separators – many.

Larcomb Vineyard also offers onsite catering and bar facilities, so you only have to worry about turning up. | Ph: 022 425 8628 |


Good times, food and people: Two Fat Possums

Well hello, possums! If you’ve got a party or an event on your mind, there’s no better spot to book than the function room at Two Fat Possums in West Melton village.


A favourite haven for locals and a destination for those craving great food in a relaxed and welcoming milieu, the catering team ensures every occasion is a delicious success.

The function room seats from 30 to 45 people, and is an ideal spot for pre-wedding dinners, smaller weddings, birthday parties, corporate events, fundraisers and quiz nights.

There are set menus available, or the talented team is thrilled to work with you to design bespoke cuisine.

Casual dining of pizzas, platters and nibbles is available, or three-course served meals can be tailored to suit your budget.

The Restaurant Manager says, “Our chef is excellent and loves to cover the range from woodfired pizzas or gourmet burgers, right through to high-end dining, where we will bring in ingredients specially requested by our clients”.

Promising good times, good food and good people, Two Fat Possums is the home of very contented Kiwis.


Networking 101

As the adage goes, “It’s not what you know but who you know”, but how do you get to know the who? Here’s some top networking tips for breaking the ice this conference and event season.



TIME TO SHINE: Attendees generally walk out of an event with a stack of business cards, so if you want to stand out from the crowd, creative cards will leave a lasting impression. Imagine a landscaping business card that sprouts tiny trees when wet!

MAGIC NUMBER: Set a goal for the number of people you will speak to at the event and stick to it. Throw in some curveballs like meeting five people wearing red and five with large briefcases to keep things interesting and ensure you meet a range of people.

PREPARE YOUR PITCH: Prepare your elevator pitch, a multi-million dollar sentence or two explaining who you are and what you do. Keep it punchy and have some icebreakers ready to keep things fun and relaxed. The more you practice, the more confident you will be.

FANCY A FOLLOW-UP? If you meet someone at an event, follow up straight away. Let them know it was great to meet them and offer to follow up with a coffee. All relationships need a little bit of help to get going – networking relationships included.

COOL, CALM AND CONVERSATIONAL: Dread the concept of “networking”? Networking is simply the process of building relationships, not putting the hard sell on. So just relax and get to know people – the rest will come naturally. Make sure you listen so the conversation flows.


Refurbished, refit and ready: Tinwald Function Centre

Refurbished, refit and ready – the Tinwald Function Centre’s new restaurant and remodelled function room with onsite accommodation and ample parking is ready for function season.



A $1 million renovation of the centre has seen its former restaurant remodelled into a purpose-built function space for up to 120 people.

The work made way for the brand-new Alluvial restaurant. Serving contemporary New Zealand cuisine – using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local suppliers – Alluvial extends the centre’s catering options for functions and events.

With carparking for 80-plus vehicles, 13 motel rooms, public bar, bottle store, outdoor area and a “plug-in and go” technology system, owner Greg King says the renovations were designed so users can just turn up.

“The function space includes an 85-inch smart tv for presentations, a microphone sound system for speaking, and free wi-fi.

“Our team are looking forward to helping businesses and the community hold their events, so please talk to us about your needs.”

Call the Tinwald Function Centre on 03 308 7505 or email


Ilam Homestead

A memorable conference: Ilam Homestead

A company away-day or two is a chance to foster clear thinking in a place of beauty. The Ilam Homestead, ten minutes from Christchurch’s International Airport, is that sort of facility.

Ilam Homestead

Built with grace and grandeur in 1858 by the man who named the suburb ‘Ilam,’ and twice gloriously reinstated and refurbished over ensuing years, this has become conference gold.
Groups of ninety-five or fewer are comfortably seated upstairs in the dining hall, with all the catering capability and bar services available on site.

A very versatile, large, art-endowed house, Ilam Homestead boasts spaces ideal for more intimate gatherings also, and is configured for think-tanks numbering 12 or 100. Plenty of off-street parking takes the stress out of the logistics.
Spilling out into spacious rhododendron gardens, this warm, peaceful homestead fulfils technological-capability and catering choice wishes. Plus – it’s a perfect backdrop for photos.

For more information, phone 0275667900 or visit